Canine Hydrotherapy

August 05, 2020 2 min read

What is Hydrotherapy? Hydrotherapy literally means water therapy and can refer to any therapeutic use of water to aid or improve health.  Hydrotherapy started as a treatment for humans in ancient times and expanded to include animals when racehorses started benefiting from seawater. Greyhounds then begun this therapy to improve their strength and speed, as well as heal injuries from racing.

Hydrotherapy for dogs is a form of occupational or physiotherapy that uses water resistance to rehabilitate injuries and relieve pain. Exercising in water has the benefit of providing both buoyancy and resistance, making it possible to strengthen and condition muscles and build endurance without placing stress on the joints.

The buoyancy of the water decreases the stress on your pup’s joints as they try to recover from their condition. This type of therapy is also a natural anti-inflammatory due to its ability to reduce swelling in body tissues. Also, for sporting dogs and other highly active breeds, recreational hydrotherapy is a fantastic way to add physical conditioning exercises that help increase stamina and endurance as well as strengthen muscles.

There are three primary types of hydrotherapy for dogs:

  1. Underwater Treadmill - This is the most common form for dogs and is best suited for those with joint issues and arthritis. 
  2. Whirlpool therapy - Typically used for dogs who are recovering from major surgeries and is great for pain relief. 
  3. Pools- provides a good cardiovascular workout, works the core musculature, and can help to increase the overall burn of calories, especially for obese dogs.

The type of hydrotherapy prescribed depends on the condition being treated, as well as on the condition of the dog.

Here are some of the many benefits:

  1. Relief of pain
  2. Muscle strengthening
  3. Weight loss
  4. Increased range of motion
  5. Promote blood circulation
  6. Tissue healing
  7. Cardiovascular fitness
  8. Faster recovery from injuries
  9. Arthritis
  10. Neurological problems
  11. Reduces inflammation
  12. Hip dysplasia
  13. Amputation of a limb
  14. ACL injuries

If you think your dog could benefit from a hydrotherapy session, speak to your vet, and see what they recommend. One of the best long-term benefits of hydrotherapy is a better quality of life for your pet!   Despite its exceptional benefits, hydrotherapy is not for every dog, such as dogs with cardiovascular issues, infected wounds, or a serious fear of water. A history of aggression can be a problem as well.



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